It's now officially the 4th of my blog my blog so a better time couldn't have come for me to talk about a topic that's been on my mind lately. I've read some really interesting posts on the future of blogging recently from Anna's (inspired by Hannah Gale's) to Laurzrah's way back last year and I guess it's left a lot of us wondering 'is the age of the blog over?'
I often find that a lot of YouTubers and Instagrammers (the newer ones in particular) tend to all have this very similar, picture-perfect look. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with how they look - they look amazing and are super-talented. However I do think there's the notion that if you want to be big in that space then you have to have this very specific look, which the person in front of the camera may not even have without contouring, filters and editing. You need to drip the unicorn drops (or whatever!) in the exact same way, you need to contour your nose like this or do your brows like that. This kind of artistry definitely has a place in the beauty world (or Nikkietutorials and James Charles wouldn't be HUGE), but I get the impression that it's only the very established people who feel as though they can do a casual chit chat whilst applying an everyday face of makeup. With blogging, I don't think there's the pressure to look a certain way or conform to a particular style of makeup. Some bloggers are known for being minimalist with their makeup and focusing on the skin and others have never posted a single photo of themselves. To me, this just allows more freedom to talk about what you want and to enjoy content from different people with very different styles and focuses in terms of content. It doesn't have to be a tutorial or even about makeup - though there are definitely skincare channels and accounts, I think they buck the trend more than anything.
Laurzrah also made a really important point in her post; when you're reliant on social media platforms to get to your audience, you're kind of at their mercy. With blogs, you can own your domain and host everything yourself. On other platforms we're feeling the pain of algorithm changes making it tough to grow your account, plus demonetisation on YouTube - luckily if you're a blogger, social media is more of a tool than the end in itself, so it doesn't hurt you so much when these things happen.
Some people feel as though the blogging wave has come and gone and I guess I can't really speak for that because I definitely did benefit from growing my blog at a time when it felt as though blogs maybe got more attention. As I was still at university for the first year of my blog, I had the time to post three times a day to Instagram and every day on my blog, which obviously helped (and I definitely don't do this now!) Several times a week we'd head over to Twitter to do themed chats for an hour - it was a great way to connect with fellow bloggers - but they seem to have fizzled out entirely. There used to be so much commenting too! I appreciate that over half my traffic comes from Google (which I don't think is uncommon) so it's probably not people with Disqus accounts who are going to comment - it's people looking up a particular product, getting what they need and leaving, however I don't think that explains everything. I check the links of all (non-spammy) commenters on my blog but a lot of people just don't because maybe that sense of community and reciprocity has faded a little. It definitely felt like a smaller, more intimate world back when I started this blog and if I'd been doing it today, I can quite safely say that I don't think as many people would read this or be following me on various platforms. But why should any of this stop you from starting or continuing your blog if it's what you love to do? I don't think you should start something like this with the intention of it getting huge or even becoming your career. You should do what you love doing because you love doing it!
Finally, I think writing seems to have become an underrated commodity! I've said it before and I'll say it again; I just love makeup and writing. I'm not some amazing makeup artist or a particularly gifted photographer (it still feels like a skill I've built up with considerable, conscious effort and one I stumble over all the time). On blogs we have as many words as we want, to say whatever we want in as much detail as we want. I get that not all bloggers are passionate about this and we've probably all read posts with a stunning photo and minimal content in terms of informing us about a product. If you're more focused on creating carefully-crafted flatlays, maybe Instagram is a better option, and if you want to do tutorials then YouTube is the obvious platform. That's the beauty of all of these outlets: you get to choose the best medium to express yourself!
In summary, has the world of influencers and beauty changed? Of course! Does this mean blogs are irrelevant? Of course not! I think that essentially implying people don't have the attention span to read content is a little bit condescending - of course it's great to get a quick hit of beauty content on social media, but if you're researching whether to buy a product, it's likely you'll be looking to blogs and to longer YouTube reviews.
Do you think blogging is dead or alive and kicking?